Sri Lanka batsmen kept in check in first session

Lunch Sri Lanka 61 for 2 (Mendis 19*, Chandimal 1*) v Bangladesh
Live scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Mustafizur Rahman had returns of 0 for 22 in the morning session © AFP

Disciplined spells from Bangladesh’s bowlers and the wickets of their opening batsmen cornered Sri Lanka into reticence on the first morning in Galle. Bangladesh would have had three wickets had Subashis Roy not overstepped during the delivery of a ball that took Kusal Mendis’ under-edge. However, Bangladesh continued to test Sri Lanka through the morning, and were rewarded for their perseverance with the scalp of Dimuth Karunaratne in the penultimate over of the session.

Sri Lanka may not be altogether distraught with a scoreline of 61 for 2 at the break, but they will know plenty of work remains to be done before they can mount a score worthy of the surface. The Galle pitch often provides its best batting conditions in the four or five sessions to come.

There was movement in the earliest overs, but when Mushfiqur Rahim brought Subhashis on to bowl in the sixth over, he almost immediately began to glean nip off the seam. Angling a ball across Upul Tharanga on the fourth delivery, he darted it back off the seam to strike the top middle and off. Tharanga, finding himself at his familiar opening position in this match, was late on the shot in any case. He made 4 from 14 balls.

Pumped up by the sight of flying bails, Roy also had Mendis caught behind off a short delivery outside off stump next ball, but though the batsman had begun his return back to the pavilion, he was eventually reprieved – an umpire-initiated review found the bowler’s foot had landed on the line before it slid forward.

Mendis was far more reserved for the remainder of the session, largely venturing only drives to balls that were genuinely overpitched, and glances to the leg side when the quicks strayed in that direction. Karunaratne was also reluctant to play at balls that were missing the stumps, and the pair mustered only 45 in almost 17 overs together – balls occasionally beating their bat or hitting the inside edge even when they did offer strokes. Taskin Ahmed was especially intense in his second spell. Even Mustafizur troubled the batsmen on occasion, but it is when this surface wears a little more that his style of bowling is likely to become a major threat.

The left-arm spin of Mehedi Hasan provided the second breakthrough, in the bowler’s third over of the day. He floated a ball in and pitched it just outside off stump, drew Karunaratne into a cut shot close to his body – the ball ricocheting into the stumps after collecting the under edge.

Sri Lanka have fielded only six frontline batsmen in this Test, perhaps expecting this Galle surface to hold together better than pitches at this venue usually do. This in turn means they have less room for error on the batting front. So far, it is consistent bowling and not any antics of the surface that have occasioned the dismissals.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo’s Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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